YEAST: it’s not just about sugar
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Learning what Candida was and the problems it caused was the first thing ever that made me go on a special diet. The reality is that candida, or yeast, can be blamed for just about anything. Brain fog, chronic exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, hormone problems, leaky gut, digestive issues, food sensitivities, depression or anxiety, frequent UTIs, rashes, joint pain, you name it. Everyone is SO WILLING to point the finger at yeast. As in ‘it’s so evil, now we need to kill/ wage war on it or you wont get better.’ But honestly, that way of thinking is for noobs.
You heard me. But I agree. Yes, yeast DOES cause all of these symptoms. Where I beg to differ from the modern ‘holistic’ functional medical mindset is that though this is true, the yeast is not a cause of your dis-ease, but another symptom in itself.
Yeast is Protecting You
The reality is that yeast is protective. And that yeast doesn’t show up in a way that’s disruptive unless it has something to protect. To paint a picture for you, you can imagine yeast as a big, fluffy comforter. And if you look at it under a microscope, you can see the featheriness of it. It’s fluffy!
Here is a pic of yeast under a microscope:
And what that means is that yeast wraps around a metal, a toxin, or a pesticide molecule to create a buffer between the incredibly harmful effect these substances create in your organs + bloodstream. So basically, when you have a lot of toxic material in your body, it creates an environment where yeast overgrowth= protection and is therefore the lesser of 2 evils.
Why the Typical, ‘Holistic’ Strategy of Killing Yeast does NOT Work
Going back to the typical, ‘holistic, functional’ strategy of kill, kill, kill-ing the yeast, you realize that instead of helping your body out like you thought you were, you were actively getting rid of your protection from the most dangerous toxins in your body.
Plus, does ‘getting rid’ of yeast actually ever work? On the first special diet I ever went on, aka the ‘Candida Cleanse,’ I didn’t eat ANYTHING that could turn into sugar in my bloodstream for fear of feeding the yeast. I was terrified of carrots, beets, and even felt guilty eating sugar snap peas. My plan was to starve my candida out and then kill it further with herbs, enzymes, etc. My symptoms did improve temporarily, but the moment I ate one bite of something with natural sugar in it, it completely derailed me. My cravings came back, my symptoms came back, and the weight I had struggled to lose packed back on again almost instantly.
That’s because I wasn’t actually addressing the problem. That I had metals and pesticides in me and that my body was going to be a hospitable environment for yeast until I did something about that. Aka I needed to shift my internal ecosystem. Aka I needed to do GAPS.
Shifting Perspective on Both Yeast & Sugar
GAPS was the first diet I went on that natural sugars weren’t ‘bad.’ I ate honey with healthy fat, and I ate fruit within a certain context. And I was just fine! However, nowadays, because of my recent pesticide exposure, I can only eat a few pieces of fruit before I get a little yeast rash. This reaction just indicates that my body has more detoxing to do rather than fruit is bad in itself or that yeast is my main problem.
Conversely, removing metals from my system too fast caused the worst yeast reactions + rashes I’ve ever had in my life (for pics, you can click here). Because when yeast dies, it emits 176 different toxic gases that in my case, came out through my skin. This kind of thing can also show up in your lungs, your liver, or your kidneys. And it F***S you up! And can be very dangerous. So it’s important not to ‘go after’ anything with a tenacious, ‘take no prisoners’ kind of attitude whether it be yeast, metals, or pesticides alike.
Making Your Body an Inhospitable Environment for Microbes that Harm It
In getting to truly understand the underlying mechanism of GAPS, I learned to let my body shed what it needed to as I gave it the physical resources + nourishment from the food I ate. Because it takes a lot of nutrients to ship toxins out safely. And it takes awhile to restore the function of your detoxification system after years of being overloaded from living as a modern human. These things take time. So getting the right pacing down is key- definitely making sure that this shift is not happening too fast while also cultivating a space where it CAN happen.
So really, the moral of this story is that health is not so cut & dry. While yeast overgrowth isn’t ideal, it sure as hell beats heavy metal damage. It’s all relative. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that even though our bodies can frustrate the hell out of us, everything they do is for a reason. It’s time to listen to and honor that. And work with our bodies to shift our internal ecosystems so that it won’t be a hospitable environment for any of that toxic shit- whether it be physical, spiritual, or otherwise.